Last week I finished my last dose of typhoid vaccine (interesting fact: typhoid, if you did not know, is a type of Salmonella.) Not fun, but much less unfun than typhoid itself, I’m sure. Around the same time, I received an email from the World Vets team leader, whose job entails not only running the clinic but making sure the newbies don’t get into trouble abroad, reminding us that no matter how adventurous we might be, the street food in Tanzania must not be consumed. “One word,” she said. “HEPATITIS.”
Most of us live in a country where we take food safety for granted. Yes, there are occasional pockets of problems, but it’s easy to forget that in most of the world the food and water is often highly contaminated with unpleasant, downright dangerous things. Here, you don’t need to think about keeping your mouth shut when you shower or brushing your teeth with bottled water. (I slipped ONE TIME in Africa, and if you remember my post about East African Magic Fairy Colon Dust, I paid dearly for the transgression.)
It’s safe not because we live in a Golden Land Where the Water Flows Cleanly, but because we have massively strict protocols in place to maintain the safety of the food and water supply. We hope that our pet food manufacturers maintain the same standards when it comes to making their food, but the production process is often shrouded behind such a dark and opaque curtain we really have no idea. Well, until Diamond happens, and the FDA releases a scathing rebuke of their safety process post inspection.
I asked someone who knows this industry really well what he thought about the whole Salmonella thing, and he told me that trying to find Salmonella in a finished product is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Even if it’s there, and you are testing the way you should, it’s still hard to find. And that is why preventive measures are so important. Make it right in the first place. The finished product sampling should be just one of many steps in the safety protocol. (more…)